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At around the early 20th and late 19th century, one culture was in the path of modernization embracing communication, technology and military tactics. This culture was the Western culture. Its development gave it economic success and power over other cultures which cowered under the growing giant. The other cultures were terrified at the site of the immeasurable progression and change the Western culture was undergoing (Gienow-Hecht, 2007). The Western culture’s influence was felt all around it but despite this, the non-Western cultures stood their ground and did not budge. They were unwilling to let centuries of cultural practices and beliefs be changed. This resulted in a gradual loss of their identities as they started decentering their own cultures.
Western Cultures vs. non-Western Cultures
The 19th and the 20th centuries are famed for globalization, a time when Western cultures had a huge influence on the non-Western cultures which led to a decentering of their own culture. In the 20th century modernization spread like a wildfire in the form of traditions, music, fashion, communication, media and technology. In some cultures, artistic forms such as literature and music have been passed from generation to generation and with the help of technology, these can be shared globally. Some of the cultures that have suffered decentering are from Africa (Gienow-Hecht, 2007). The impact the Western culture had on Africa is immeasurable. This is because whole villages and families crumbled to the ground as the able bodied were captured and sold off as slaves. Before the 19th century the African culture was rich and diverse filled with unique practices and beliefs that enabled them function as a human society. The people lived in relative peace in huge groups called villages which constituted several families that varied in size. Each village had an elder or leader who was consulted in times of crisis to resolve problems and settle disputes. The African culture boasted a large variety of art, music and dance and all these were entrenched into the cultural practices and ceremonies. The ceremonies included great harvests, feasts marking the birth of a child and stages of development like initiation, and even marriage ceremonies. Africa was prosperous at the time with Ghana controlling a huge proportion of the ivory, gold and salt trade. Ghana also had a military that controlled the entire area, maintaining a state of peace. In some parts of Africa, the locals adopted Islam to avoid slavery. However, it is important to note that the people of a nation did not starve since Africa was green and productive and there was plenty of food to feed everyone (Mattelart, 1994).
Change resulted when many of the Western cultures started undergoing the Industrial revolution. For instance, the Europeans were a powerful economic and political force, and with this power, they made slave trade their most profitable venture. In addition, the Europeans brought disease with them. The European invasion of Africa led to the death of millions of African men, women and children as they succumbed to disease.